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65 - Everything You Need To Know

There's one thing everyone agrees on — dinosaurs are awesome. Who doesn't love a big, scaly, prehistoric beast? But for all the love these terrible lizards get, there aren't a whole lot of dinosaur movies. Sure, they've popped up here and there, showing up in Hollywood classics like "King Kong" and bizarre curios like "Tammy and the T-Rex." However, in recent years, the dinosaur market has been almost exclusively cornered by the "Jurassic Park" series, but a challenger to the dino throne emerged on March 10, 2023.

That's when "65" hit theaters, offering audiences a new take on these oversized reptiles. In a world of ever-growing IP, remakes, and reboots, this sci-fi flick offered a fresh take on an old concept, with some serious talent working both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. But if you've got questions about this Cretaceous caper, we've got answers. From what critics think about the flick to who wrote and directed this clash of man and monsters, read on for everything you need to know about "65."

What is the plot of 65?

With his daughter dying of an illness, Commander Mills decides to leave his home planet and take a two-year journey into space in the hopes of earning enough money to save his kid's life. Unfortunately, the ship he's piloting — which is full of cryo-sleeping passengers — accidentally hits an asteroid and crash-lands on a strange planet. In the wreckage, he manages to find one survivor, a young girl named Koa, and together, they're forced to survive in this alien world.

Of course, while it might be alien to Mills, it's not alien to us. As it turns out, this is Earth ... 65 million years ago. And yes, that means things get incredibly complicated for our heroes when hungry dinosaurs arrive on the scene. It also doesn't help that they've landed on Earth at a very, um, impactful point in history. With the clock ticking and the dinosaurs closing in, Mills and Koa have just one chance to escape, and they'll have to make a dangerous journey if they want to get off this rock alive.

Who stars in 65?

Co-starring alongside a bunch of toothy reptiles, we've got Adam Driver — a man who's no stranger to sci-fi. After playing in the acclaimed HBO series "Girls," Driver found worldwide stardom in the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy, portraying the tortured Kylo Ren, a man torn between the light and the dark side of the Force. In addition to wielding a lightsaber onscreen, Driver has also starred in projects like "Marriage Story," "The Last Duel," and "House of Gucci." In "65," he's playing the part of Commander Mills, who must protect a young girl in a world full of flesh-hungry reptiles.

So who portrays his young ward? Well, the part of Koa is played by Ariana Greenblatt, who's no stranger to surviving perilous situations. The young actress stole the show in "Love & Monsters" as Minnow, a young girl who can more than handle herself in a world full of massive mutant creatures. You'll also recognize Greenblatt as young Gamora from "Avengers: Infinity War," Daphne Diaz from "Stuck in the Middle," and the voice of Tabitha from the "Boss Baby" franchise.

Driver and Greenblatt are also joined by Chloe Coleman, who starred alongside Dave Bautista in the family flick "My Spy," Karen Gillan in the action thriller "Gunpowder Milkshake," and both Owen Wilson and Jennifer Lopez in "Marry Me." Rounding out the cast, "65" also features Nika King, who's most famous for playing Zendaya's mother, Leslie Bennett, in HBO's "Euphoria."

Who wrote and directed 65?

If you don't already know the names Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, you should probably memorize them real quick. It seems these two are becoming real-deal power players in Hollywood, especially when it comes to sci-fi and horror films. This dynamic duo is responsible for writing and directing "65," but before that, they were busy collaborating on films like 2019's "Haunt" (a slasher flick set in a haunted house) and 2015's "Nightlight" (a supernatural set-in-the-woods thriller). However, they really punched their ticket to success by writing one of the most dynamic genre scripts in recent memory: "A Quiet Place." They're also responsible for the adaptation of Stephen King's "The Boogeyman," so one thing is for sure about these two — they know how to bring some serious thrills.

Who produced 65?

Before turning their attention to Adam Driver's dino adventure, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods were hired to work on Quibi's (remember Quibi?) horror anthology series "50 States of Fright." However, they weren't alone on the project, and one of their fellow "50 States" collaborators joined "65" and gave the film some serious cred.

Alongside Deborah Liebling and Zainab Azizi, the legendary Sam Raimi served as a producer on "65." If you're at all familiar with horror movies or superhero flicks, then Raimi needs no introduction. He burst onto the scene with the "Evil Dead" franchise and helped lay out the blueprint for future Marvel flicks by helming the three Tobey Maguire "Spider-Man" movies. In addition to directing films like "Drag Me to Hell," "The Quick and the Dead," and "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," Raimi has produced quite a few winners, including "Crawl," "Nightbooks," "Don't Breathe," and "30 Days of Night." 

How did critics and audiences respond to 65?

The premise of "65" sounds awesome — humans crash-land on Earth and have to fight dinosaurs. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like critics were impressed by what "65" had to offer, with most of them wishing the film would just go extinct. The film currently has a terrible 37% critics' rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 78 reviews.

Our own Reuben Baron wasn't thrilled with the movie, writing, "'65' is dreadfully uncreative beyond the basic premise, utilizing cliched character types we've seen handled way more compellingly nearly everywhere else." David Fear of Rolling Stone agreed that "65" was majorly lacking, saying, "It's not schlocky enough to be so-bad-it's-good and nowhere near good enough to be taken even a tiny bit seriously."

Audiences, on the other hand, are a little more fond of the dinosaurian adventure. At the time of this writing, the film has a 63% approval rating based on 500+ reviews. Perhaps their feelings are best summed up by critic Maria Lattila of WhyNow, who wrote, "Is '65' good? Debatable. Is '65' enjoyable? Absolutely. The middle-budget film has disappeared, but '65' is an ambitious, entertaining example of why it should be returned."

How did 65 perform at the box office?

While average moviegoers on Rotten Tomatoes seem to like "65," its audience approval score of 63% doesn't line up with the box office numbers. On its opening weekend, the dinosaur sci-fi film earned just $12.3 million at the domestic box office. If we add in the international profits, that brings us to a total of $20 million — not great when your reported production budget is $44.5 million.

So why the massive flop? It could be partly thanks to the negative critical reviews. The film was also fighting some serious competition. It opened against "Scream 6," which took the #1 spot at the box office. Plus, there was leftover competition from the weekend before with "Creed III," which punched its way to the #2 spot, leaving "65" in third. In other words, it was a dino-sorry opening weekend.

What is 65 rated?

As is par for the course with most sci-fi blockbusters, "65" is rated PG-13. If you're worried about little ones, there's no sex or nudity, and the language here is about what you'd expect from a more serious Marvel movie. "65" earns its PG-13 largely thanks to the dinosaurs, which are pretty scary and very hungry. There's quite a bit of blood (but not excessive), plenty of attacks by those terrible lizards, and more than a few wounds earned in battle. Our hero has to get pretty violent to fight off these creatures, but honestly, nothing ever strays into R-rated territory.